Friday 29 April 2011

Visiting Marwencol

The "protectors" of Marwencol return from patrol. (Photo: Mark E. Hogancamp/Courtesy Cinema Guild)

A couple of weeks ago i came across the photography of Mark E. Hogancamp and was instantly struck by the unique way he used photography as a form of therapy. Eleven years ago, Hogancamp was severely attacked in a bar by five men. The attack was so brutal that his mother did not recognise him.  When he awoke from a nine day coma, it was found that he had no language, he couldn't walk and Hogancamp had also a lost large part of his memory due to the head injuries he'd received.

After twelve months of therapy the bills became too much, and Mark had to find another way to deal with the consequences of what had happened to him. Lacking conventional help he decided to create his own - a World War II era town all in 1/6th scale called Marwencol. In this town Hogancamp creates stories using action figures, each with their own identity and personality, that help him cope with his new life him after the terrible attack.

Photography became an outlet for Hogancamp to tell the comic book type stories of the characters he has devised. Some of the photographs work better than others but it is fascinating to see photography used in this way as a therapeutic tool. Several of the images do capture a World War II type atmosphere nicely. I've always believed that photographs are created for a variety of reasons that are not always just visual. The relationship we have with our photographs is often not as simple as we'd like to think.

It is a brilliant story about an eccentric guy just trying to come to terms with what happened to him. The photography is well worth a look because it's just so unique. Sadly i missed a documentary on TV about Marwencol last week but a short YouTube trailer can be viewed on the page along with the photos HERE

To visit Marwencol go to

Thursday 28 April 2011

Creeping Barrage

The day is nearly here and I'm already fed up. Saturation is the best word to describe the utter BLITZKRIEG of news about the Royal Wedding. News reporting now works on the creeping artillery barrage principle - you see it coming, it gets closer and then you are totally enveloped by it. It is relentless, unforgiving and you cannot avoid it no matter what you do. It is everywhere from TV to iTunes.

William and Catherine are not to be envied. They are in the centre of this whirlwind and will be for some time to come. Most people would run away and hide. Maybe they'd like to too. Whether the viewing figures are as high as the two billion mentioned remains to be seen. It's a tough way to start your marriage. I wish them well because they seem like decent people. Ignore the royalty bit, they are just like you or me. A person.

There seems, however, to be an attitude within the media that most Brits are interested. "It's what the public want!" they would no doubt say. I'd say the reverse is true, mainly due to the over saturation of stories where every minute fibre of Will and Kate's lives is analysed, processed, photographed, filmed and spat out for consumption in the name of entertainment;  force fed to the general public. Modern day 24 hour rolling news is the worst culprit of all and they do it with everything these days - marriages, wars, celebrities and politics.

So the TV is unplugged. The net will be accessed only for work and I'll be settling down with a couple of good photography books including Susan Sontag's 'On Photography' - a book I haven't read since my student days. 

Sunday 24 April 2011

Maier’s Streetscapes

The Vivian Maier website went live this week and it certainly didn't disappoint. For those of you unfamiliar with the Vivian Maier story, it all started with a box full of negatives purchased at an auction by John Maloof hoping they would form part of a separate project he was working on. The boxed negatives turned out to be just part of a massive body of work by Vivian Maier.

What makes the photographs even more fascinating is the fact that Maier wasn't a pro photographer but a nanny who would simply go out taking photographs on her days off, capturing the character of the people and places around her. The images she took are just quite simply superb and date from the early 1950's through to the 1990's.

The website does a fabulous job of bringing together the images and the remarkable story of a woman who left behind a collection of over 100,000 negatives, more than 3,000 prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio tape interviews, and various other items that Maier kept from view during her life. The site has a varied collection of images that I'd certainly recommend having a look through.

Alongside the new website, a film and a book are also in the works and due to come out soon. The Vivian Maier Website can be found at

Friday 22 April 2011

Foto Friday - No Footpath

I was going to write a post about the sad news from Libya regarding the deaths of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. I've decided that there are enough tributes online already - some good and others rather tasteless.

The events of this week, however, do bring into sharp focus the extreme risks of working in a war zone.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Making a Splash

Firestarter by photographer Markus Reugels 

This photograph caught my eye this week. Often high speed photography has the amazing capability to capture what the eye cannot see, but it is usually done from more of a scientific and technical perspective than an artistic based one. Markus Reugels' photographs manage to successfully blend both viewpoints.

The colours, shapes and textures are just beautiful and yet they exist for only a fraction of a second. The colours are simply added using food dyes and different coloured gels on Reugels' flash/strobe equipment.

This photograph, along with a few other terrific images, ( keep an eye out in the gallery for the image 'Big World in a Little Drop') have made quite an impact this week popping up on a couple of UK newspaper websites.

A good collection of Markus Reugels' images can be found on The Telegraph website HERE

Saturday 16 April 2011

Terrific Timelapse

Here's a beautiful video of time-lapse photography video by Terje Sorgjerd that really hits home how beautiful the world that we all live in really is.

If we all have to alter the way we live and consume resources to keep our mother nature looking like this, then that is a small price to pay... no?

Found via the excellent duckrabbit blog

Saturday 9 April 2011

Recommended Reading

The BJP is a UK photography magazine but they have a great website and blog too

Time for another list of recommended photography reading and I thought I'd mention the photography sites that cover all aspects of photography. These are the must follow photography news and information sites that i use to keep up to date with what's going on in the constantly changing world of photography.

First up we have the British Journal of Photography blog called 1854, so called because it was the year that the journal was established. The BJP mixes news, reviews and features on photographers with a good blend of UK and international coverage. If a major exhibition or a new piece of camera gear is coming out , this is usually where you can find out about it. The British Journal of Photography website can be found at Their photography blog 1854 can be found at

The next website is The online Photographer -  a truly brilliant information resource for photographer. Edited by Mike Johnston over in the US of A, the website has multiple contributors and covers literally every aspect of photography. This was the first photography blog i ever followed. Some of the more technical posts go way beyond what the average photographer would need to know, but as a website for keeping up to date with everything photographic, the Online Photographer is hard to beat. The Online Photographer can be found at 

The final website is The Photography Post and it's a new find for me. I came across the website just a few weeks ago via a Twitter link and was impressed by the Photography Post's content. It isn't the easiest site to navigate due to it's layout design and you have to sign up to comment and get the full benefit of the website feeds. That said, the content and  the diversity of photographic work displayed is excellent with some brilliant photographer's work headlined. The Photography Post can be found at 

A few other fantastic photography news websites to consider looking at are The Professional Photographer, Photo District News and Peta Pixel. Over the summer I'll be adding a few more suggestions on where to look online for your photography information fix.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Rope and Anchor

Fisherman's hut at Brancaster Staithe

The title of this post sounds like a Cornish pub. Ah well, lots done recently. A few design changes for one blog and don't worry, I'm still working away on the profile of Lee Miller. That should be ready by the weekend. I even have an idea who i'll be profiling after Lee. A brilliant photographer called... hmm i'll keep that a secret. I'll also be adding a photo each week to the blog - a bit of random picture posting.